By Kim Reader
A photographer appears to have captured a stag-gering snap of a deer with two bodies.
The perfectly-timed shot was taken by Lauren Cresser, who managed to catch the exact moment two stags looked directly at her camera to create the stunning optical illusion.
Lauren, 33, took the photo in Bushy Park in Richmond, Greater London, just days after getting her first professional camera for Christmas 2015 but, lacking confidence in her abilities, buried it away.
But now, after encouragement from friends and family, information officer Lauren has realised that she had a ‘hidden gem’ all along and is sharing the photo for the first time.
Lauren, of Pirbright, Surrey, said: “I have always loved taking photos and people would tell me I was good and I should get a nice camera but I always resisted saying my phone was fine.
“Then one Christmas, my husband decided to take the bull by the horns and bought me a proper camera and just a couple of days later I took it out for the first time in Bushy Park.
“It was a really damp, cold and grey day and we’d been out for a couple of hours but hadn’t seen anything that exciting so I was getting a bit fed up.
“Decided to go and get some coffee and cake to warm up and as I turned around to walk back these two stags were just right there in front of me.
“They weren’t completely lined up at first so I have a few photos that are slightly off but then the one on the left turned his head to look at me and they lined up perfectly.
“It was a perfectly timed photo, it looks like one stag with two bodies. I thought it was pretty cool and a bit strange so I showed it to my dad who told me I should enter it into a competition.
“But at the time I had no confidence in my ability to take photos yet. I just didn’t think it was worth sharing with people so I just tucked it away.
“It wasn’t until recently I was going through old photos and I spotted it again. I’m still very much an amateur and I’ve still got so much to learn but I have gained the confidence to show people my photos more.
“Seeing it now, I realised I’d had a bit of a hidden gem all along and decided to share it withpeople for the first time.
“I showed it to friends and that first and I had such a positive reaction. It was really unexpected. It’s really lovely to finally be showing it to people and getting such nice feedback.”
After the positive reaction she has had from friends and family, Lauren decided to enter the stunning shot in a photography competition run by investment management firm Quilter Cheviot.
The snap of the ‘two-bodied’ Red Deer stag was captured by Lauren using an Olympus EN10 camera with a 300mm telephoto lens.
While animal-lover Lauren does do a lot of wildlife photography, she says she is keen to explore all her options and learn as much as possible.
Lauren said: “I love animals so I do do a lot of wildlife photogrtaphy and landscapes – and I’m always taking photos of my horse.
“But over the years as I’ve gained some confidence I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter if a photo is rubbish, it is all about learning and the joy of being out and about taking pictures.
“I’m really keen to keep furthering myself and try my hand at everything. I’d really love to do some event photography.”